Iceland is the land of snow and glaciers, elves and puffins, waterfalls and geysers. A unique destination, not even that far from both Europa and the North America! Capital Reykjavik is often visited on a city trip or stopover, but the rest of the island is absolutely worth a visit as well. These are the things you should not miss during your Iceland trip!
#1 Have a road trip
The best way to experience the beautiful nature of Iceland is during a road trip. The only other good option to get around the island is with a tour agency or with day trips from Reykjavik, but that way you will not be able to experience the rugged landscape as much as with your own car. Or car.. how about a camper van?
#2 Hiking at the Skaftafell glacier
Have you always wanted to walk on a glacier? You can do that of course in distant places, such as southern Chile. But in European Iceland as well! In the summer months the ice is less thick and the glacier less large, so this is especially recommended in spring when the temperatures start to rise, but the glacier has not melted yet!
#3 The Jökulsárlón lake
One of the highlights of Iceland! With a bit of luck you will see this ice lake as in the famous photos: magical blue water with a clear blue sky. Unfortunately that was not the case when I visited the lagoon, but even then Jökulsárlón is a beautiful sight. It is amazing to see how enormous icebergs float slowly over the water towards the sea. An unearthly sight!
#4 The geysers of Geysir
An easy day trip from Reykjavik and part of the famous Golden Circle tour is the town of Geysir. Does it sound a bit too much like the word ‘geyser’? It is named after this Icelandic place! Geysir is in an active geothermal area and you will find several geysers here. Wait a few seconds and see how the water is sprayed meters high from the air!
#5 The waterfalls of Gullfoss and Seljalandsfoss
Iceland is known for its beautiful waterfalls. Easily accessible and particularly beautiful are those of Gullfoss – just like Geysir part of the Golden Circle – and Seljalandsfoss. The waterfall of Gullfoss is an impressive sight. This double cascade is one of the largest waterfalls in the country. Gullfoss is therefore very popular with tourists, so make sure you get here early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Also visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, in the south of the country and not far from the famous Ring Road around the island. This waterfall is particularly nice to visit, because you can walk behind it!
#6 The hotspots of Reykjavik
Capital Reykjavik is a mecca for every foodie. In addition to highlights such as the beautiful Hallgrímskirkja or a whale watching boat trip, there are many nice coffee bars, lunch spots and fish restaurants in Reykjavik. Read our blog with an overview of the best hotspots in town, including shopping and hotel tips!
#7 A road trip at the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Beautiful fjords, high cliffs, the picturesque town of Stykkishólmur and volcanic peaks characterize this peninsula in the north-west of the island. A road runs along the coast of the peninsula that leads you past all these places. Certainly worth a small road trip! Make sure you make a photo stop at the Mt. Kirkjufell, the cliffs at Hellnar and the picturesque church of Búðir.
#8 Dive into a hot spring
An Iceland trip is not complete without a visit to a hot spring. Whether you opt for the famous Blue Lagoon, close to Reykjavik and the airport, or one of the less visited hot springs in nature, make sure you take a dip in Iceland’s famous ‘hot pots’. Less well-known and more natural options than the Blue Lagoon are, for example, Hveragerði, Landmannalaugar and Mývatn.
#9 Spot puffins at Vestmannaeyjar
Vestmannaeyjar – or the Westman Islands – is a group of 15 volcanic islands, of which Heimaey is the largest. Here you will find the largest colony of puffins in Europe. From April to August thousands of those cute black and white birds gather here, a spectacular sight! The volcanic islands and the ferry boat trip make this a don’t miss on your Iceland trip.
#10 The northern Lights
Of course you should to be lucky with the northern lights, because this fairytale-like natural phenomenon can unfortunately only be seen in the winter months. And even then you will not bea ble to see them every night. All kinds of ‘Northern Lights Tours’ are offered, but a tour agency won’t have more luck than you to see the polar lights. The only thing you need is a clear sky, an unobstructed view without light pollution and happiness. Keep an eye on this site for the best aurora predictions!